Every year, the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) celebrates the African Telecommunications and ICT Day (AT&ICTD). This year, the theme “Building Capacity of the Continent in the information society” was selected to celebrate the 32nd founding anniversary of the Union.
Capacity building has been identified as a critical factor for Africa to realize its vision of being an active and full participant in the global information and knowledge society. Infrastructure alone is not an efficient means for economic growth; countries must focus on human and capital resources in order to obtain greater benefits from investment in the telecommunications sector.
Indeed, the African telecom sector lacked rapid growth due to the lack of human resource development, resulting from insufficient training and capacity building in ICT. Being aware of this fact, the ATU and its Member States exerted tremendous efforts to fill this gap. Therefore, in the last ATU Administrative Council Meeting, Burkina Faso June 2009; Building Human Capacity in the African Continent was selected to be the theme for the African Telecom day for this year 2009.
Africa is not poor in its brains. In several African countries there are genius brains that can drive the sector. However; lack of institutionalizing the capacity building activities, and the brain drainage phenomena by the developed economies have impeded the buildup of capacities in the continent.
Till very recently, most support for capacity building in country programs in Africa remains fragmented—designed and managed project by project.
This makes it difficult to capture cross-sectoral issues and opportunities.
Member States and other interested Stakeholders are making their support for capacity building in Africa more relevant by extending its traditional focus beyond building individual skills to strengthening institutions and demand for improved public services, and by shifting to programmatic support.
The Egyptian National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) and other governmental institutions, and also in collaboration with private sector, have taken seriously the development of human capacities of the Egyptian ICT workforce as well as those from other countries, particularly from Africa.
ATU in collaboration with the Egyptian Government through the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) conducted training program for African ICT professionals in Egypt from 25th January- 10th February 2009. The training was attended by 22 participants from 16 countries.
Moreover, ATU and Egypt conducted a training program for African ICT professionals in Cairo from 29th April – 15th May 2008, attended by 24 trainees from 19 African Countries.
Both trainings were attended by professionals from the following African countries:
|- Central African Republic
- Sierra Leone
- Burkina Faso
- DR Congo
On the other hand, NTRA conducted a training program on “Spectrum Management” from 03 to 14 May 2009 for 14 trainees from 10 countries from Eastern and Southern Africa (Djibouti, Zambia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Mauritius, Comoros, Eritrea, Uganda, Malawi), spanning the following areas:
a. National Spectrum Management
b. Spectrum Planning and Frequency Assignment
c. Monitoring the Radio Spectrum
d. Spectrum Pricing
e. Registration and Coordination and Notification for Satellite Networks and Fixed Services.
Intensive training activities were carried out at the premises of National Telecommunication Institute (NTI) in Nasr City and the Smart Village in collaboration with African and Arab States for two weeks during the period from 4th to 14th of May, 2009.
NTI finalized the Professional Training Program in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), training 19 trainees from Sudan's Ministry of Telecommunication and Postal Services. The training was conducted in cooperation with the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Additionally, the NTI together with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conducts training courses and workshops for ICT professionals from developing countries (including Africa) on telecom disciplines and up-to-date technologies. This year a workshop on Multi Protocol Label Switching 'MPLS' was organized on the period from 12th to 14th July, 2009 cooperatively between the NTI and the ITU. The workshop - held at the NTI headquarters in the Smart Village - was an interactive learning experience for over 20 participants; three of them were from African countries.
More recently, a workshop on 'Voice over IPv6' was organized on the period from 20th to 22th October, 2009. It was an interactive learning experience for over 11 participants, including representatives from African countries.
Recognizing the importance of human capacity building in Africa and the role of Egypt in this regard, His Excellency Minister of Communications and Information Technology Dr. Tarek Kamel has witnessed the graduation ceremony of the 4th batch of the 'ICT Experts in Africa' training program; the graduation ceremony was held in Cairo parallel to ITU Telecom Africa 2008.
Hence, it is obvious that Egypt’s commitment to development of African human capacity building is a continuing process.
ATU has expressed its appreciation to the Egyptian Government for its commitment in the implementation of this core ATU program of activity which constitutes one of the fundamental challenges facing the African continent today.
NTRA, on the occasion of the African Telecom Day, would like to express its commitment to participate in the capacity building activities in Africa; and is inviting the private sector in Egypt to take an active role in these activities, and provide training and consultancy support to African countries to be commensurate with infrastructure projects taking place in the Continent.